As Jade Rabbit rolls
Across the Bay of Rainbows
Moon Goddess Chang’e
I cannot help but wonder
Do you like your dusty realm?
With this tiny glimpse
Of the black night revolving
Are you sorry you took flight
From a place bounded—blue—bright?
(To commemorate the landing of Chang’e on the moon)
Depth Charge: On Dec 14, 2013, the Chinese lunar lander Chang’e touched down in the Bay of Rainbows and released its rover, Jade Rabbit. Apart from the technical accomplishment, I was impressed by the nomenclature the Chinese used for their mission: Chang’e being a moon goddess and the Jade Rabbit in the moon grinds the medicine of immortality. This double tanka also references Li Shangyin’s Tang Dynasty poem to Chang’e. For a more in-depth analysis of Li Shangyin’s poem, click here.
Li Shangyin: To the Moon Goddess
(Translated by Witter Bynner)
Now that a candle-shadow stands on the screen of carven marble
And the River of Heaven slants and the morning stars are low,
Are you sorry for having stolen the potion that has set you
Over purple seas and blue skies, to brood through the long nights?
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